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Business leaders fail to own the customer experience

Few organisations, according to a recent report from Altimeter, have a coherent method for aligning customer experience with business strategy. This misalignment is impacting the decisions and investments business leaders are making to improve the customer experience. It also limits their understanding of how CX can contribute to tangible business goals and the overall strategy of the business.

Numerous studies have shown that companies that drive genuine CX innovation as a fundamental part of their business strategy outperform in almost every major financial metric over their industry peers.

Many organisations believe they have an aligned CX strategy. In fact, their strategy is frequently narrow in focus and involves only a part of the organisation’s operations. It’s not a comprehensive strategy that embraces the entire organisation.

Misalignment leads to a change conundrum

Senior executives desperately want change. They see significant macro economic and disruptive forces at play that threaten the business. Those at the front line want change. They feel the pressure of customers extolling the great experience they have with other companies and frustrations dealing with theirs.

Then there is the middle. The middle management layer is the custodian of the status quo. They have so many conflicting and inconsistent messages, pressures and directions to deal with that, in the absence of aligned clarity, they get stuck.

All in all, even though the entire company may want change, they can’t.
Fortunately, things are changing. More and more companies are starting to explore a broader and more innovative CX approach to their business. There’s a shift from service being a particular departments focus to a genuine whole of organisation experience. Companies are building the capabilities to become more proactive in responding to customers by breaking down internal silos.

How to align CX with your Business strategy

The most important first step is a genuine belief around CX innovation. Many companies promote CX innovation, but their actions betray their vision. They talk big but then deploy disconnected, reactive interactions and information capabilities.

The executive team owns the business strategy. They need to own the CX strategy as well, otherwise any improvement will be marginal and reactive. The executive team needs to be responsible and take ownership of the five models/strategies governing the business:

  • The overall business model
  • The economic model
  • The operational model
  • The risk model
  • The CX model

More and more executive teams are adopting the appropriate innovation mindset and ownership of the CX model.To achieve this, once the appropriate belief and mindsets exist, the approach must be consistent with any other innovation strategy.

Think big, start small, learn fast and scale success

Charlene li from Altimeter highlights how customer experience is about a shared value proposition with customers that aligns to your business. She believes the only way to link experience strategy to brand and business strategy is to view it through the lens of a relationship.

She says, “…Experience strategy is a set of prioritised and coordinated moves that use experiences to build relationships that result in brand and business outcomes. Experience is the mechanism through which your business strategy and brand value proposition are activated with customers.”

All aspects of the customer’s experience, including before, during and after they are a customer, need to be considered. The mantra for successful CX innovation is: think big, start small, learn fast and scale success. Don’t’ be afraid to experiment and try something different.

Chris Luxford

As an experienced management consultant focused on Go-To-Customer innovation and the evolving need to delight the customer, Chris loves change and helping organisations change to create real innovation and differentiation and deliver their strategic goals.